Women: Wise Up to '50 Shades of Grey'

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bill Cosby has recently been accused of sexual assault and rape by nearly three dozen women. In most cases, it has taken multiple decades for his victims to come forward and speak out against him.

Years later, we're constantly reminded of Chris Brown's beating Rihanna back in 2009. Rihanna's pain has been exploited by countless media outlets looking to profit from their very-public breakup.

Eminem is another name that's been tied to domestic abuse. He not only has a history of violence - year after year, he makes his living from rapping about said violence.

Sean Connery, Mike Tyson, Tommy Lee, Sean Penn - the list goes on of male celebrities that have in some shape or form, physically abused or harassed a woman at some point in time.

Meanwhile, women in Hollywood are being exploited as their phones are hacked and nude photos leaked online for the entire world to see (ie: Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Hudgens).

This is the real world of use, abuse, and exploitation. 

It is a world of pain, shame, and real damage to real lives.

So why - why - are we praising this clearly obscene, clearly offensive, clearly awful movie, Fifty Shades of Grey?

I'll openly admit that I have not read the book. Initially I wanted to - first out of curiosity, then because I wanted to rip it to shreds with criticism (a hobby of mine). Even today, before I sat down to write this post, I considered plowing through a few chapters to earn a little bit of credibility in speaking out against it. I ultimately decided not to.

Instead, I read a synopsis - which made me sick enough to feel that I don't particularly care how credible I am in speaking out against this book. I'm going to do it anyway.

How have we fallen so far from emulating the relationship of smart, creative Allie and romantic, loving Noah as to emulate the "relationship" of a sadly naive 22-year-old and her manipulative, sadomasochistic abuser?

For the sake of a fair argument, I admit - I get it. This article said it perfectly:

Here’s what I would like to believe: that buried beneath all the smut, poor writing and abuse, on some level this book appeals to that nurturing part of every woman that makes her feminine and beautiful. That part that wipes the tears of a child who skinned her knee, makes her volunteer at nursing homes and adopt stray cats and unwanted dogs at the pound.

This is true. Women are likely reading this book and seeing a heroine who saves a damaged, distant, incapable-of-real-love, underwear model (half-kidding) - but those women are forgetting something.

This book is a work of fiction. That is (very unfortunately) not how these stories end.

These stories end the way they've ended for all women who've experienced an abusive relationship - they come out just as damaged as the man doing the abusing.

And even more importantly, women need to know that they do not have to submit themselves to this kind of torment and abuse in order to be loved - nor does loving their abuser mean submitting to his abuse.

As women, we are not doing any men any favors by accepting it. We owe it to ourselves and to the men in our lives to demand more from them than this.

Christian Grey doesn't need a woman to submit to him, nor does he need a woman to deny him (which appears to be why he falls in "love" with Ana).

What Christian Grey needs, in real life, is intense therapy.

And what Ana needs is to back away, preferably as fast as she can.

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